The Leica is considered the Rolls-Royce of cameras so it comes as no surprise that the investment community would take an interest in the expensive tastes of those behind the shutters. SHK Private, part of Sun Hung Kai Financial, has organised seminars with members of the Leica Camera Club to talk about two topics that on the face of it are unrelated - investment outlook and photography. SHK Private analysts discussed markets at the seminar, while professional photographer Bobby Lee discussed apertures, shutter speeds and lenses. Sun Hung Kai joins a growing number of financial firms seeking to leverage off the upmarket interests and tastes of their clients. In an increasingly competitive market for customers a free calendar every year will no longer cut it. Golf days, wine tastings, musical evenings and even celebrity chef cooking classes are being arranged to lure customers. Katie Lin Kwai-ying, managing director of SHK Private, said the alliance with Leica would help capture new customers. 'Leica customers are in the same target demographic as SHK Private which caters for people with at least HK$3 million available for investment,'' she said. 'It's also about investment; the Leica camera itself can be an investment because it's prized by collectors.' With some models costing more than HK$100,000 Leica cameras are renowned for their high-quality lenses and bodies and accessories. Post-war Leica cameras, the iconic model produced by the company between 1954 and 1966, are not only used by 'James Bond' in the spy books but by keen photographers and journalists. A Leica M3 with a 50mm lens purchased for about US$440 in 1954 could go for between US$3,600 and US$4,000 nowadays. Lin said keen competition in the hunt for customers inspired the link-up with Leica. 'There are many retail banks offering wealth management services and European and US private banks are also competing for clients. The wealth management and private bank market is very crowded,'' she said. 'We have to offer more services and events to compete for customers - not just good investment advice.'' Private bank customers agreed they could no longer be happy with the 'freebies' being offered by their bankers. 'My private banker sends me a book every month and also arrange some wine tastings and cultural activities,'' said Bernard Chan, president of listed insurer Asia Financial Holdings, who is not a client of SHK Private but uses other private bank services. 'It would be good to be able to meet your bankers at a gathering such as wine tasting or art gallery exhibition. I could place investment orders to the bankers by phone by e-mails but these events allow me to meet them and other customers face to face, which is good networking.'' But Chan said things had gone too far in some respects. There were far too many private bank invitations and events too similar. 'They need to think about the different type of events or gatherings as those who like wine may not like photography. If they want to tailor events to customers' interests, they would need to host many different events from time to time.'' SHK Private, set up in March, says its customers are mainly highly paid professionals aged between 40 and 60 who like investment and enjoy lifestyle activities. 'We have arranged several wine-tastings and golf course outings for customers. We plan to arrange art gallery exhibitions, too.' 'Teaming up with Leica for an investment and photography seminar allows us to offer something fresh and original to customers. 'We'll arrange these types of seminars as regular events to allow the camera lovers to understand our investment services.''